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Rallies are something this team expects

October 10, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Through five scoreless innings Thursday, the Dodgers' Derek Lowe was dealing. He'd given up just four harmless singles, allowed only one runner to advance into scoring position and retired nine batters in a row at one point.

Which means the Philadelphia Phillies had Lowe just where they wanted him.

"We knew if we were going to score, we were going to score late," reliever Ryan Madson said. "So we're just out there waiting for it to happen."

Forty times this year, the Phillies have come from behind to win, including twice in the postseason. But none of those victories was more important than Thursday's, when sixth-inning home runs by Chase Utley and Pat Burrell wiped out a 2-0 Dodgers lead and gave Philadelphia a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

"Mentally, we just don't feel we're ever out of a game," said Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who pitched a perfect ninth for his NLCS-record sixth save. "It's a toughness other teams don't have."

For Burrell, the homer gave him three in his last two playoff games. And two of them have given the Phillies wins.

"For whatever reason, we have a collection of guys offensively that truly believe that they can change the game at any moment," said Lidge, who was traded to Philadelphia from Houston in November.

Studying overseas

Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel played for two great managers -- Billy Martin in Minnesota and Walter Alston with the Dodgers -- during his short major-league career. But he said his managerial style has been influenced more by what he learned when he left the U.S. to play in Japan.

"If I had never gone and played baseball in Japan, I don't think I would have been a coach or manager," said Manuel, who played six seasons for the Yakult Swallows and Kintetsu Buffaloes. "I learned to respect things more. Their ways, their discipline, their culture . . . I learned that there's more people in the world than Charlie Manuel. I learned to care about more things."

Which isn't to say he learned nothing from Alston, who won more than 2,000 games as well as election to the Hall of Fame.

"I was sitting on the bench with the Dodgers. I never got to play," said Manuel, who appeared in 19 games for L.A. in 1974-75. "And it seemed like, for some reason, I'd always land close to him. He didn't say a whole lot, but he would talk to me during the game.

"The more that I would sit there and watch him, [I noticed] how calm and cool that he was and how he had a lot of respect for his coaches and the people around him. The more I think about it, I think I definitely learned something from him."

Hungry for a title

Lidge has spent all of six months in Philadelphia. But that's been long enough for him to learn how starved the city is for a champion, something it's been without since the 76ers won an NBA title in 1983.

"You can feel it around town," Lidge said before Thursday's series opener. "Just going shopping or whatever, people will come up to you. . . . . They really want this to happen, like we want it to happen."


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